The next auction that I have an interest in is at Christies, London, on October 19th. It is a sale of “Post-War and Contemporary Art“.
The first thing that struck me from the catalog were the Notes attached to Jeff Koon’s “Jim Beam Log Car” (estimate up to $1.6m). They are the epitome of the Inflated Phrases we have discussed before.
But the real treat comes as early as Lot 9: “Girl Reading“, Lucian Freud’s portait of Lady Caroline Blackwood.
We are used to Freud’s massive images, but this is a tiny 8″ x 6”.
It still took an age to paint. Blackwood has described sitting for Freud: “Not only it is slow, but after six months you can be back to where you started. He not only paints the anguish of your age but he also paints the anguish of his sitters” (C. Blackwood, quoted in S. Aronson, Sophisticated Lady, p. 146).
And the pre-sale estimates for this almost-miniature run from $3.5 million to $5.2 million.
A little larger, at 14″ x 14″, is Freud’s portrait of the other giant, Francis Bacon from 1956/7. The pre-sale estimate for this historic image goes up to $12.3 million.
The catalog also includes a number of works from young Chinese artists, some basic Warhols, along with works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and others. It will be interesting to see if the “financial meltdown” has any effect on this end of the market. I don’t expect it to.